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April 10, 2007

Content is King, Context is Queen

Last week, I tried to relate some of the most compelling ideas that came out of the Seoul deep dive on media and content. Of course, and as always, I lost a few things in translation. Fortunately, Paul Reynolds, a director at Auckland-based consultancy McGovern & Associates, who contributed some of the most forward-thinking insights to the deep dive (including this blog entry's title), articulated his own thoughts on his blog, McGovern Online. I’ll give you an excerpt, but I would encourage you to read the whole thing by clicking here:

Context - putting it all together.

 The connecting point to all this is context - and for me, that's where the future lies - not so much creating new content streams [though that is an inevitable part of the mix] but creating new contextual tools and spaces - which in turn give me the framework[s], to interact and rearrange my relationships between one kind of media and another, and, crucially, integrate these content relationships with the different social groups of friends, colleagues and family who share all this with me.

For example - if I've totally enjoyed a new movie in the family area - say Pans Labyrinth - I'd like to see a layer, either on the DVD, or more likely the web, that switches to a deeper set on linked sourses on the Spanish Civil War, or the History of Fayriae, etc. I also want to share this with the people I saw the movie with.

Similarly, if I'm in a study space, I want to be able to switch out of the space I'm in and see how current news or other media is treating what I have been studying. Or maybe, all I'm doing is responding to an IMS, or a skype call.

Or, if I'm in the noisy eating/chattering space of the living room, I want to be able to pull up all manner of local happenings reviews, restaurants etc, as well as mark some stuff for quieter times in the study area.

In short the changing context of my life is matched by an equally intelligent context machine which is able to scan the surface of an issue - flood it with group noise and opinion, or take a step back, quieted down, and be able to take the time to sit and think with some serious sources.

Paul goes on to describe what this “context machine” might look like. Fascinating stuff.

Also, you may be wondering why the piracy conversation I hyped up before the Shanghai deep dive seemed to peter out. I’m wondering the same thing. The only thing I can think of, and as yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article on U.S. action against Chinese piracy demonstrates, is that the issue is so dangerously political (not to mention difficult to solve), people just don’t want to touch it.

Here’s the lead sentence to the WSJ article: “The Bush administration is preparing to take its longstanding spat with China over pirated movies, music and books to the World Trade Organization, a move that could notch up trade tensions between the two countries.”

It is a battle that is being fought on many levels, and with varying degrees of success. And in many cases, industry and government are not working together to solve the problem, which obviously isn’t helping. Again from the WSJ article:

“Industry groups that aren't expected to support the case include the Business Software Alliance, whose members include Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc., and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drug industry's main trade group. Both sectors have made their own market-access and antipiracy advances and don't want to see that work disturbed, administration and industry officials said.”

Maybe looking for a silver bullet for the piracy problem is too much to ask for. But it doesn’t hurt to ask.


April 10, 2007 in Media and Content | Permalink


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an obsession with "piracy" won't help contextualise the vast changes in media and authority patterns we're facing. the WSJ gets its panties in a twist about piracym, sure. but innovation is not coming from the media companies or "software publishers" that love copyright and DRM. have you blogged about the creative commons yet?

Posted by: James Governor | Apr 11, 2007 9:46:56 AM

Dan, I've been pushing the notion that if content is KING then Context is the KINGDOM for quite some time. My reasoning there was that the Kingdom is the context within which the king operates. I like the analogy to the queen too though ; )

Posted by: Tony O'Driscoll | May 8, 2007 7:38:18 PM

Here’s the lead sentence to the WSJ article: “The Bush administration is preparing to take its longstanding spat with China over pirated movies, music and books to the World Trade Organization, a move that could notch up trade tensions between the two countries.”

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